A Discussion with Dr. Sonnleitner, Your Scotts Valley & Capitola Optometrist About The OCT
1. Please describe the technology of the Optovue scanner and how it works?
The OCT (Ocular Coherence Tomographer) uses a cool laser to scan beneath the retina where we normally cannot see, to find pathologies (or potential pathologies). The particular OCT that we purchased (the iVue OCT by Optovue) also scans the front of the eye (the cornea and iris) to evaluate potential for disease and to aid in difficult contact lens fittings. We bought this particular OCT to gain this anterior scan capability.
2. What components of the retina does this look at and measure?
With the posterior scan, we normally scan the optic nerve and the fovea (central retina), but can scan any area of interest in the back of the eye. With the anterior scan, we can evaluate corneal disease or evaluate potential for angle closure glaucoma.
3. What types of diseases/disorders can be discovered?
- Macular edema (swelling)
- Macular degeneration
- Melanoma (irregular pigmentation)
- Degenerations of the cornea
- Narrow anterior chambers (potential for angle-closure glaucoma)
- Vitreous detachment
4. What is it about this particular technology that you find most exciting, the component that made you feel you need to invest in this for your practice?
This technology is important for us to have since it will reduce the time of eye disease diagnosis, and potentially save vision that might otherwise be lost through delay in diagnosis. Instead of sending a patient with suspicious findings out to a specialist for a scan, we can now do the scan ourselves without delay.
5. Do the patients that walk through your doors day in and day out, appreciate the upgrade in technology?
Everyday patients might not appreciate this technology unless we take the time to educate them. Several patients have mentioned the "new equipment". Patients who just come in for glasses may never see this equipment, so signs and brochures in the office are essential to inform them of these changes.
6. How does this technology improve comprehensive eye exams relative to how you worked before using Optovue Retinal Imaging?
This new technology will drastically improve the quality of our eye exams. It will give us the capability to quantify changes over time.
7. To what patients do you recommend Retinal Imaging?
We will recommend retinal scanning to all patients as a "screening". This eye Wellness screening has a charge of $35, and if anything is found, we can bill their insurance for the full scan. Otherwise, we will recommend a full scan for anyone who shows signs of retinal changes, retinal nevi (moles), suspicious signs of glaucoma, irregular astigmatism, patients needing special contact lenses.
8. Are there certain feelings or vision issues that a person may notice that would point to the need for Retinal Imaging?
Patients with a family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration would benefit from a scan, if for no other reason than to provide a baseline. Any patient with reduced vision would benefit from a scan in order to aid in a diagnosis.